Last year, Liverpool saw Harvey Elliott have an extremely successful season on loan with Blackburn Rovers in the Championship. The young player became a key cog in the attack for the Rovers, and Liverpool hoped to replicate the success this year with Leighton Clarkson. The young midfielder started his career with Blackburn, but struggled to find consistent playing time as the team found itself in the midst of a title race.
Blackburn manager Tony Mowbray has said that Clarkson will return to Liverpool for the second half of the season. Despite not breaking through like Elliott did, Mowbray still had plenty of praise for the 20 year old.
“Leighton is going to go back to Liverpool,” said Mowbray.
“I’ve had lot of chats with Leighton and I want to put on record that this lad is an amazing footballer, what a talent. You talk about Harvey Elliott, he’s got all those qualities, weight of pass, brilliant finishing, an amazing footballer who sees all the pictures, all the patterns. Yet he’s come at a time when our team is functioning and he understands.”
While Blackburn struggled to stay mid table last season, they are flying high this year, sitting in second behind Bournemouth. With his team functioning well and pushing for promotion, it was touch for Mowbray to find minutes for a young, developmental midfielder.
“He knows football, it’s hurting him because he’s a Rovers fan and I haven’t been able to give him the game-time and he understands that because the team is winning and functioning,” said Mowbray of Clarkson.
“Who would I be leaving out? Would I be leaving out Buckley, or Rothwell, or Travis? I don’t think so. We moved to three at the back so it’s only really two central midfielders because Buckley plays like a false nine. The opportunities became less and less and I felt for him because I said he needs to play football, with that talent he needs to play and express it, how fantastic a footballer he is.”
While unfortunately it didn’t work out for Clarkson at Blackburn this season, Mowbray still feels there is plenty of opportunity for the youngster to find match time elsewhere.
“I would assume Liverpool would look for another opportunity for him to go and play, at what level we’ll wait to see,” said Mowbray.
“Whether there is another Championship team who thinks he can be a regular starter, because that’s what he needs to do and grow into the footballer he’s undoubtedly going to be because he’s very, very talented.”